Preview: Birmingham vs Sunderland Premier League 15/04/2011

Birmingham’s home fans at the St Andrews Ground, will get to celebrate Premier league match time when Sunderland come visiting in match week 33 on Saturday, April 16, in the second of a two-legged contest.

The first, hosted by Sunderland on August 14, 2010, ended in a 2-2 stalemate. It was a come-from-behind win for Birmingham, after Sunderland went ahead, via Bent’s penalty on 24 minutes, and Carr’s own goal helped increase the lead, 12 minutes after the interval.
Dann reduced the margin on 77 minutes, and Ridgewell brought the Blues level with barely 2 minutes of regulation time to go. Birmingham’s cause was helped by the sending off of Sunderland skipper Lee Cattermole, on the stroke of half-time.
Referee Taylor gave Sunderland sufficient cause for grievance when he booked Cattermole for a non-offence. Minutes later, Cattermole expended his anger with a rough tackle on Bowyer, whose histrionic ability came to the fore, as he lay writhing, ankle firmly clutched. The misguided tackle brought Cattermole his second yellow card, and his consequent sending off.
While Mignolet, Richardson and Bent had nothing to write home about, on the day, other Sunderland players such as Mensah, Campbell and Henderson gave a great account of themselves, while Onuoha had a brilliant debut game.
While Birmingham lacked width and speed they compensated with tenacity and spirit, and that made the difference, eventually, as Alex McLeish’s wards slavaged a point from a game that looked well and truly lost, at 2-0 down.
Head to head, Birmingham and have won 6 games each of the last 17 league games played between the sides, with the remaining 5 matches drawn.
In their last 10 league games, Birmingham have registered 4 wins, 3 draws and 3 losses; Sunderland have won just one of their last 10, while drawing 2 and losing the remaining 7. Of their 16 home games this season, Birmingham have won 5, drawn 7 and lost 4, while Sunderland have won 3 of their 17 games on the road, while losing 7 and drawing the remaining 6.
In match week 32, Birmingham drew 1-1 away at Blackburn, while Sunderland lost 3-2 at home against West Brom.
Birmingham are barely above the relegation zone, and Sunderland are just 3 points adrift of them. Both teams are likely to view Saturday’s game as an opportunity to safeguard themselves further, from relegation. Expect a hard-fought game, with Birmingham enjoying home advantage.
Birmingham’s starting eleven against Blackburn had the following players: Foster, Carr, Johnson, Parnaby, Ridewell, Larsson, Gardner, Ferguson, Bowyer, Jerome and Phillips. Davies featured as a substitute.
Sunderland had the following men in their starting eleven against West Brom: Mignolet, Onuoha, Mensah, Turner, Bardsley, Elmohamady, Malbranque, Cattermole, Richardson, Wellbeck and Gyan. Zenden, Sessegnon and Ferdinand were used as substitutes.
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